Mystery Girl proves humor can be sophisticated. In this smart, witty novel by David Gordon you can expect to be taken on a ride not only in plot, butMystery Girl proves humor can be sophisticated. In this smart, witty novel by David Gordon you can expect to be taken on a ride not only in plot, but by a style that is delivered with authentic prose and perfectly placed comedic timing. The main character's sense of humor, self-deploring behavior and 'the world is a weird place' observations will make pulp fiction fans snort with glee. This is a wonderful journey into the imagined artistic world of L.A. where struggle and fame are constantly dirty neighbors.
For those looking for improved character development in novels, Mystery Girl provides an excellent example. Each character is hashed, thrashed and mashed out. Everything we need to know about a character is incorporated into the story-telling, making use of setting, dialogue, association, job, habits and physical characteristics -- nothing is missed, nothing is unimportant or extraneous. Even the sub-characters are fully-developed, thus, creating a clear vision for the reader to manipulate. They're also connected by a six-degrees of separation before coming full circle to form a fantastic ending.
Even though this mystery brilliantly makes use of humor, it is serious on several levels. At first glance, it appears the author might have randomly drawn from a story machine exercise. Create a story using: doppelgangers, a video-store clerk, a reclusive obese detective, a wanna-be-novelist and divorce. Despite the juicy elements, this book provokes intelligent contemplation spanning the pages. Such as, the death of the novel or writing in general, stereotypes, insecurities, exploitation and mental illness.
In the end, the big question of 'Who are we?' is a fun philosophical goodie that this book offers. As Sam and Lala stare at each other, you can't help but wonder if anything has been accomplished or answered. Does it take something like the events in the book for people to figure it out, or is it all meaningless in the end. What matters and what doesn't? And, good God, the death of the novel is depressing. Lucky for us, it's been dying for a really long time....more
Strap on the life vest because we're going fishing! Morey puts the spin in detective mystery with colorful characters, fast-paced action, strange bantStrap on the life vest because we're going fishing! Morey puts the spin in detective mystery with colorful characters, fast-paced action, strange banter and a dollop of humor. This treasure hunting comedy/mystery flies across the page taking you through a cast of characters so entangled that it's bound to end with only a few left standing. Morey's story hinges on the bizarro, but with enough mainstream crime mystery dashed with real events, in this case the mystery of the Jesuit treasure, to ground them, which will broaden the appeal to a wider readership. Even though the convenient store cast of characters are far from cookie cutter, Morey does it without unnecessary raunchy language, explicit crudeness or ridiculous sexism. This is why Morey's stories appeal to me when compared to other authors who write in a similar genre. It just proves writing can be bizarre, humorous and down-right weird without crossing lines that will alienate an audience. Atticus Fish stories are a cross-over between Christopher Moore and Austin Powers without too much nasty. If you're ready for mule-riding expatriates, a germophobe strip club owner and a fumbling hit man that gets his ears chewed off, then this is the read for you! Park yourself in a lounger, slap on some sunscreen and soak up the crazy. ...more
This is not your Nana’s Christmas story. If you’re looking for a heart-warming, fuzzy, good-feeling read, Tim Dorsey’s style will shock your stockingsThis is not your Nana’s Christmas story. If you’re looking for a heart-warming, fuzzy, good-feeling read, Tim Dorsey’s style will shock your stockings off. This satirical tale might even strip the stripe off a candy cane or two. However, twisted folks that giggle at Christopher Moore and are amused by Beavis and Butthead-like antics, will fa-la-la-la-la through the pages of this short gem. Spike the eggnog and dress the white elephant gift with the Sunday funny paper, because When Elves Attack is packed with classic Dorsey shenanigans wrapped in a shiny bright bow. Yeah, it’s nothing knew, but it’s funny as hell. This isn’t highbrow stuff, but who wants to strain their brain after hours at the mall? This is the perfect book to take along to the in-laws over the holidays or will make an excellent gift for that hard-to-buy-for nutbar relative. Let’s face it you’re probably going to need a laugh by the end of the evening anyways! Sometimes it’s good to remember that it could be worse. You could live in Florida across the street from Serge Storms on Triggerfish Lane....more
4.5 stars If you’ve just read the book synopsis you might've paused, shook your head, and decided to re-read it again because undoubtedly this is not a4.5 stars If you’ve just read the book synopsis you might've paused, shook your head, and decided to re-read it again because undoubtedly this is not a book about mafia fruit wars and a donut dealer killer who is dating a kiwi? Since this is bizarro, it kind of is, but in the metaphorical sense, right? Charles is the reality that holds this surreal eco-fruitation together and he is accompanied by an entourage of characters that easily might be discovered in the lost and found bin of Quentin Tarantino’s mind. Possessing all the good qualities of pulp-fiction, this spoof on pop culture captures the best and worst of sensationalism, hero envy and the normalcy of the not so normal we’ve come to love and expect. So much is going on in this petite package of chaos that it demands the expertise of a psychologist to figure it out, or at least a judge to determine if Hendrixson is insane. Readers may question whether this ex-English teacher has gone completely postal and contemplate if it is wise to let the man roam around our country’s capital. Given the other influences in society, your children are probably safe, but you might want to censor their music selection because clearly Michael Jackson inspires unhealthy life choices....more
3.5 stars Starfish Girl is a sub-genre stew, a slathering of ingredients from urban fantasy, surrealism, sci-fi, steampunk, dystopia and bizarro. Bene3.5 stars Starfish Girl is a sub-genre stew, a slathering of ingredients from urban fantasy, surrealism, sci-fi, steampunk, dystopia and bizarro. Beneath the sea and under a dome a band of mutants set out on a journey to the surface. Turning cogs, evil doctors, Victorian-like whore houses and a remote population of clowns are discovered along the way by a naive girl and her urban fantasy tough street-wise protector. This is the cast of the future and only 20 are allowed to make it out alive. The story is narrated in the present tense. Usually this narrative decision is made to accelerate immediacy, emotion and action. However, in this case observations take on a mechanical, detached tone, which creates distance, making the introduction of characters involved in the beginning scenes confusing (starfish girl, shark man, man with such and such ect). This may have been the aim of the author, but I was not a fan of the approach. The present tense shifts to the main characters, and when it does, I begin to get into the story. The perspective of Timbre (tough girl) and Ohime (starfish girl) provides a more intimate voice and to my relief, leans away from the 'reporting' of details that I felt in the beginning. However, when writing in the present tense a problem can arise, how to communicate past or provide background. Bits of this come into play mid-way through and although I wish it was given earlier (Timbre's), it was executed in a way that reminded me of comic book flashbacks. Some readers will dig this, while others may not. It will come down to personal taste. Lastly, I really wasn't sure what to think about Ohime. I had a hard time grasping if this girl was slow, mentally-challenged or what, but I think she was just supposed to be gullible. Given that Ohime was fifteen and menstruating, I had a tough time reconciling her childlike dialogue and behaviors as being merely a consequence of a sheltered life. Maybe I'm too jaded and narrowed by my own life experiences....more
If Salvador Dali were to comment on the meaningless of a college degree he might be inspired to paint a flying toaster getting whacked by a horse dildIf Salvador Dali were to comment on the meaningless of a college degree he might be inspired to paint a flying toaster getting whacked by a horse dildo. Steele makes excellent use of the literary device, non sequitur, in his comedic quest to save humanity in Felix and the Sacred Thor. This is not just a story about sex toys, but a commentary on modernism, social culture, education and the pursuit of greater things. And yes, the dirty underbelly of the retail world where receipts are optional and no customer should be allowed to borrow scissors. In between laughs, I was thinking about what humanity is really doing. Are they going through the motions of the mundane, or is anyone really using their strengths for a greater good. Deep, I know. Another aspect that I enjoyed was the use of objects and twisting the meaning that has already been assigned to said object. A dildo is a sex toy until you make (use) it for something else. In this case, a weapon to save the world. It's amazing how quickly when new meaning is applied, the taboo of the object dissolves. In the end, words are just letters put together in a certain order. The power comes from what we impose on it, the meaning we give it, and realizing each person possesses the power to change it can be mind blowing. ...more
I recommend this philosophically humorous absurdist story that questions all that is organized religion and pokes much fun at bureaucracy. Okay, mostI recommend this philosophically humorous absurdist story that questions all that is organized religion and pokes much fun at bureaucracy. Okay, most of my friends will like it!...more
This is not your average sweet American tale about a young man's journey for redemption. No seriously, it's not even close to that...it's better and mThis is not your average sweet American tale about a young man's journey for redemption. No seriously, it's not even close to that...it's better and much more hilarious. My advice is to strap on a pair of Depends undergarments or just read while on the pot because you're going to laugh so hard you'll pee. I'm not sure how Katzman's does it, but his tongue-in-cheek humor is effortless and plays on so many expressions that we've grown up with, listened to, and as children wondered what the hell does that even mean, and when no one can explain, we resign. My favorite parts include the action-interrupting phone calls from Mom, with Dad on the other line. Oh Jesus, if this doesn't make milk come out your nose until you blow milky snot bubbles, I don't know what will! Check your pulse, because obviously a mime has turned you into a humorless zombie during a commercial break. If you don't 'get it' you're probably not old enough and it's past your bedtime anyways. So what do I really think? It's Christmas in July. Go out, or order this book online and stuff it in the stockings of every relative and co-worker. Better yet, display it on your coffee table so your in- laws have something to browse when they visit. Everyone knows a sense of humor is the most attractive attribute and owning this book will prove yours to all!...more
Imagine a mash-up of MTV's iconic Beavis and Butthead meets gumshoe noir on a crazy trip through the set of Miami Vice (the Everglade years). This isImagine a mash-up of MTV's iconic Beavis and Butthead meets gumshoe noir on a crazy trip through the set of Miami Vice (the Everglade years). This is one badass, non-stop thrill ride that will have you zigzagging all over the state of Florida. Who else can master dark comedy, crime thriller and state history better than Tim Dorsey? Electric Barracuda is a shining example of classic absurdist fiction. It focuses on the experiences of characters and their seemingly meaningless actions and events. By making use of dark humor, abasement of reason and bizarre philosophy, Dorsey opens a peep hole into American culture. The characters are amusing, fully-developed, inventive and most of all, the events are a fast-paced blast that will have the reader laughing until they weep (and then questioning whether the author was sober at any stage of the writing process). Of course, in this case, it's a good thing. An untamed ride ensues mingling past and present, which are in continual conflict. This instigates an appeal to the nature vs. nurture theory (I'll let readers chew on that for a while). To say this is just a satire is too simplistic and would be a crime against literature and possibly a felony against humanity. Did I go too far? True of most absurdist fiction, Electric Barracuda is deeply thematic and creatively communicative. The moral is not explicit and allows the reader to reflect and come to their own conclusion. The world is a dirty, gritty place and doing something wrong for the right reasons is so very forgivable and enduring. Tim Dorsey has earned his way onto my fan shelf. I'll be reading more twisted tales by this author soon....more
Simon is like most of us, he wants to be someone someday. And like most of us, he can’t help but constantly judge, assume, hypothesize, condemn, envySimon is like most of us, he wants to be someone someday. And like most of us, he can’t help but constantly judge, assume, hypothesize, condemn, envy and pity (just to name a few) people of the world. You’re probably judging me right now thinking who does she think she is accusing me of such things? I think I am the all seeing, all knowing writer of this review! Forgive me I digress! Simon Burchwood is a reflective character that forces a reader to look at the shameful, dirty parts of our humanity. Can he help who he is? No more than any of us can. His perception is comical and ironic as well as sadly maddening because of its truth. Perhaps, not our truth, but nevertheless the truth according to Simon Burchwood’s world and just in case you doubt what he says, he’ll kindly punctuate the wisdom he shares with a ‘it’s true.’ This is key because near the beginning the reader is told this is a dream and that we’re not to forget – but you can’t help but forget. It’s debatable and when the ‘dream’ plot is used well (which it is) it can be thematically complicated in a mind-melt sort of way. In addition, there is plenty of evidence peppered throughout the story to support one way of thinking or another. I particularly zoned in on the possibility of dream symbolism and how it could be analyzed and applied to what was happening in Simon’s life. Is any of it real or is Simon’s journey to the Barnes & Noble flagship store in New York just a really messed up fantasy?